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Montevideo, April 24th 2019 - 22:01 UTC

Pope admits Church’s sins and calls on youth to change the world

Saturday, July 27th 2013 - 05:29 UTC
Full article 45 comments
“So many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption” “So many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption”

Pope Francis in yet another strong message said on Friday he understands the young people who lose faith in the church because of bad ministers, and confidence in political institutions because of corruption, but also urged them to change the world.

On the fifth day of his first trip in Brazil Francis went to Rio's Copacabana beach to preside at a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) service commemorating Jesus' final hours as part of an international jamboree of Catholic youth, the World Youth Day.

Francis urged young people to change a world where food is discarded while millions go hungry, where racism and violence still affront human dignity and where politics is more associated with corruption than service.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out to see the Argentine-born pope at the theatrical event on the crescent-shaped beachfront, giving him yet another of the frenzied welcomes that have defined his trip so far.

He ordered his open-sided pope-mobile to stop numerous times along the three kilometre route so he could kiss babies and shake hands. He got out several times to walk along the route, making his security detail nervous again.

In his address, Francis used the analogy of the suffering Jesus to ask the young people to ease the sufferings of the world. He used the theme to address issues ranging from hunger and crime to an oblique reference to the child sex abuse scandal that has roiled the Roman Catholic Church in recent years.

Francis spoke of “the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenceless”. He said Jesus was united with families whose children were victims of violence and drug addiction.

“Jesus is united with every person who suffers from hunger in a world where tons of food is thrown out each day ... with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs or simply for the colour of their skin,” he said.

In a reference to the sex abuse scandal, he spoke of “young people who have lost faith in the Church or even in God because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the gospel”.

“So many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption,” Francis said.

Last month, Brazil was rocked by massive protests against corruption, the misuse of public money and the high cost of living. Most of the protesters were young.

“The suffering of Christ is keenly felt here,” the pope said, asking the young people to step outside of themselves and not wash their hands of society's many problems like Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus' fate in the gospel.

It was the second time in as many days that the pope urged young people to exploit their drive and energy to change things.

The first Latin American pope is clearly relishing the enthusiasm at a time when the Church, which once was an unrivalled religious bastion on the continent, is grappling to hold onto faithful.

On Friday, he took on the role of a simple priest and heard confessions of young people. Later, he visited the archbishop's residence, where he again showed his personal touch by lunching with youth and meeting juvenile inmates.

After four straight days of rain and unseasonable cold, the sun returned to Rio and the long evening service that included dramatic re-enactments of Jesus' final hours was held under stars instead of clouds.

But the change in the weather came too late. The rain forced organisers to move this weekend's two final gatherings to Copacabana from a pasture on the outskirts of the city because it had become a vast field of mud.

The final, climatic event of World Youth Day is Sunday, when Francis presides at a closing Mass before returning to Rome that evening and which is expected to convene more than two million people.

Top Comments

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  • Boovis

    The church is responsible for one of the biggest sexual abuse scandals in history and then calls on the very people that represented the victims to make the changes in the world. You couldn't make it up.

    Jul 27th, 2013 - 08:32 am 0
  • GFace

    I'll believe him when he hands the Vatican, Dioces records of the names of the rapists for whom they continue to shield to law enforcement. Until then, its all more lies.

    Jul 27th, 2013 - 01:14 pm 0
  • Baxter

    For all those against the Church or non believers ,I have bad news , the Church will continue . This brings to mind a great painting , I remember not the painter , showing the Church as a ship fighting a mighty storm but in the far horizon you can see light , depicting that the Church would survive the worst of storms . I fully agree and accept that so many errors have been committed , including the recent sexual cases , but that does not mean that the whole Church is at fault . It is rather like saying that a regiment is full of cowards because one officer ran away in battle. If that were so no British regiment could look anybody in the eye .I know from personal experience and from father and uncles who fought in the two wars .
    Everybody is totally and completely free to believe in what they . All one asks for is respect for ones belief .

    Jul 27th, 2013 - 03:53 pm 0
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